HomeWriting a Balanced Essay (1)

In the IELTS writing test, we are often required to write a formal essay which discusses both sides of an issue. To achieve a high score, we should consider the opposing viewpoints of the topic, objectively and equally, by presenting points in favour as well as those against it.

Introduction

Clear presentation of the topic

Main Body

  1. Argument for 1 & justification/example
    Argument for 2 & justification/example
  2. Argument 1 against & justification/example
    Argument 2 against & justification/example

or

  1. Argument for 1 & justification/example
    Argument 1 against & justification/example
  2. Argument for 2 & justification/example
    Argument 2 against & justification/example

We should start each main body paragraph with a central idea, that is, writing a sentence which introduces the theme of the paragraph. Each new idea should be supported with appropriate justifications and examples.

Conclusion

Balanced summary of the topic and/or direct or indirect presentation of the writer’s opinion


TASK 1

Read the following topic and underline the key words. Then answer the questions that follow.

Recently, genetically modified (GM) foods have started to fill our supermarket shelves to the surprise of many unsuspecting consumers. What are the benefits and drawbacks of GM foods? What are the ethical issues surrounding this technology?
  1. What is the topic to be discussed?
  2. Do you know anything about genetically modified foods? What have you heard about them?
  3. Here is a list of arguments for and against GM foods. Choose the best two arguments for and the best two arguments against. Then, explain the reasons for your choices.

FOR

  • crops are altered to withstand diseases and pests
  • they offer improved flavour, better quality, and longer shelf life
  • more nutrients are added to make products healthier
  • they can be grown in any type of soil

AGAINST

  • unsure about the safety of the products
  • labeling products is misleading because the initial modifying chemicals are not listed
  • GM crops may threaten biodiversity by decreasing richness and variety of food
  • it is morally wrong to tamper with nature

[spoiler title=’Suggested Answer’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

Recently, genetically modified (GM) foods have started to fill our supermarket shelves to the surprise of many unsuspecting consumers. What are the benefits and drawbacks of GM foods? What are the ethical issues surrounding this technology?
  1. GM foods
  2. I have heard that there are concerns about the safety of GM products and their effects on humans. On the other hand, people also say that GM foods are a solution to feeding the world’s hungry millions.
  3. (a) There are sound arguments for having GM foods, such as the fact that crops can be altered to withstand diseases and pests. I think this is important because farmers would not lose their crops and there would be more food to feed the population.
    (b) Another argument for GM foods is that they offer improved flavour, quality, and shelf life. This means that stores can sell more products as they do not spoil quickly. I think customers would buy them because they are tastier and they would keep longer.
    (c) There are also strong arguments against GM foods, such as the safety issue. I think until sufficient research has been conducted on GM foods, people will remain unsure about them.
    (d) Another problem people have with GM foods is that they think it is morally wrong to tamper with nature. We never know the repercussions of GM foods. This is also a strong argument.

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TASK 2

The sample answer below has been prepared as a very good answer under exam conditions. However, please note that this is just one answer out of many possible approaches. Read the sample essay. Are any of the arguments you chose in TASK 1 mentioned?

Genetically modified foods today are showing promises to combat diseases and famine. However, they also arouse concerns about human health risks and potential environmental impacts.

It is true that GM foods can bring about various benefits. One argument in their favour is that GM crops are altered to withstand diseases and pests, while offering improved flavour, better quality, and longer shelf life. Thus, more crops can be grown and more nutrients added, allowing healthier products to reach the public. Also, their stronger resistance means that fewer chemicals and pesticides are needed. Indeed, fewer chemicals means fewer toxins will enter local water supplies.

However, there are certain drawbacks to GM foods. Opponents often argue that not enough research has been conducted on the safety of these products. For example, they might claim that there are no guarantees that GM foods are safe for the human body, and it is feared that eating GM products will alter the genetic makeup of humans. It is also argued that GM crops may threaten the biodiversity by decreasing the richness and variety of food. For instance, some argue that by tampering with nature, all organisms might lose their original values, which would result in the loss of certain flora and fauna.

In conclusion, I believe that although these advances in modern science are surpassing our wildest dreams, new products should be strictly screened for safety precautions. We also need to be aware of any potentially harmful consequences before allowing a genetically modified crop into the food chain.

Which sentence(s):

  1. contains the direct opinion of the writer and summary of the topic?
  2. contains the first argument for?
  3. justifies the second argument for?
  4. justifies the first argument against?

[spoiler title=’Suggested Answer’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

The positive points which appear in the sample answer are:

  • crops altered to withstand diseases and pests
  • improved flavour/quality and longer shelf life

The negative points which appear in the sample answer are:

  • no guarantees about the safety of GM products
  • morally wrong to tamper with nature

[simple_tooltip content=’clear presentation of topic’]Genetically modified foods today are showing promises to combat diseases and famine. However, they also arouse concerns about human health risks and potential environmental impacts.[/simple_tooltip]

It is true that GM foods can bring about various benefits. [simple_tooltip content='(b) argument 1 for’]One argument in their favour is that GM crops are altered to withstand diseases and pests, while offering improved flavour, better quality, and longer shelf life.[/simple_tooltip] [simple_tooltip content=’justification’]Thus, more crops can be grown and more nutrients added, allowing healthier products to reach the public.[/simple_tooltip] [simple_tooltip content=’argument 2 for’]Also, their stronger resistance means that fewer chemicals and pesticides are needed.[/simple_tooltip] [simple_tooltip content='(c) justification’]Indeed, fewer chemicals means fewer toxins will enter local water supplies.[/simple_tooltip]

However, there are also drawbacks to GM foods. [simple_tooltip content='(c) argument 1 against’]Opponents often argue that not enough research has been conducted on the safety of these products.[/simple_tooltip] [simple_tooltip content='(d) justification’]For example, they might claim that there are no guarantees that GM foods are safe for the human body,[/simple_tooltip] [simple_tooltip content=’argument 2 against’]and it is feared that eating GM products will alter the genetic makeup of humans. It is also argued that GM crops may threaten the biodiversity by decreasing the richness and variety of food.[/simple_tooltip] [simple_tooltip content=’justification’]For instance, some argue that by tampering with nature, all organisms might lose their original values, which might result in the loss of certain flora and fauna.[/simple_tooltip]

[simple_tooltip content='(a) opinion and summary of the topic’]In conclusion, I believe that although these advances in modern science are surpassing our wildest dreams, new products should be strictly screened for safety precautions.[/simple_tooltip] We also need to be aware of any potentially harmful consequences before allowing a genetically modified crop into the food chain.

[/spoiler]


TASK 3

Read the table below. Which expressions/linkers does the writer of the essay in Task 2 use to:

  1. list points?
  2. list arguments for/against?
  3. add more points?
  4. contrast?
  5. introduce examples?
  6. make a partially correct statement?
  7. emphasise?
  8. elaborate?

Replace them with other appropriate ones.

Useful Expressions/Linkers for Main Body Paragraphs

To list points

Firstly, In the first place, To begin with, Secondly, Thirdly, Finally

To list arguments for or against

One point/argument in favour of…/against…, It could be argued that…, One advantage/disadvantage of… is…
Some/Many/Experts/Scientists/Skeptics/Critics may/might claim/suggest that… / oppose the view that…
It is often/widely/generally claimed/suggested/argued/felt/held/maintained/believed that…

To add more points

In addition, Moreover, Furthermore, Apart from, Not only… but also, There is another side to the issue/question/argument of…, Not to mention the fact that…, It is also argued that…, Another point/argument in favour of…

To contrast

On the other hand, / However, / Nonetheless, / Even so, / Yet it may be said/claimed/argued that… / others/many people oppose this… many claim/feel/believe this argument is incorrect/misguided/ill-founded…
Although/Whilst/Whereas/Regardless of the fact that…

The fact that… contradicts the belief/idea that…
While it is true that…. in fact…
While/Although…, it is questionable whether…

To introduce examples

For example/instance, In particular, Particularly, especially, such as…
This can be illustrated/shown by the fact that…
One/A typical example of (this)…

To emphasise

Naturally, Indeed, In fact, Inevitably, especially…

To elaborate

That is (to say), In other words, This means that…

To give reasons

The reason for this is, One reason is…

To make a partially correct statements

To a certain/some extent/degree, In a sense, This is partly true (but), There is some truth in (this), In some cases/circumstances/situations, Apparently

[spoiler title=’Suggested Answer’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

  1. Also (+In addition)
  2. One argument in their favour is (+One point in their favour is), Opponents (+ It could be argued)
  3. It is also argued that (+ Furthermore)
  4. However (+On the other hand)
  5. For example/instance (+In particular, One such example)
  6. Indeed (+ Naturally)
  7. Thus (+ In other words)

[/spoiler]


TASK 4

Fill in the blanks using suitable linkers/expressions. Then, write the purpose of the linker/expression.

  1. __________ the world is going into an Ice Age.
  2. __________ being an effective way to slow down our carbon emissions, it could also save large sums of money.
  3. The cost of growing crops is rising, __________ with the price of oil on the rise.
  4. __________, taking the car to go to the corner stores is a rather irresponsible act these days.
  5. If __________, more people are made aware of the gravity of the problem, they might think carefully before taking a flight to their next destination.
  6. __________ opponents could argue that there is not enough evidence to prove that the product is safe, several new studies appear to be conclusive.
  7. __________ people with backyards can compost easily, but there is no solution for those who live in apartments.

[spoiler title=’Suggested Answer’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

  1. Some experts might claim that (to list arguments for or against)
  2. Apart from (to add more points)
  3. especially (to emphasise)
  4. Indeed (to emphasise)
  5. for instance (to introduce examples)
  6. Although (to contrast)
  7. To a certain degree (to make a partially correct statement)

[/spoiler]

Use suitable expressions/linkers to connect the ideas in the sentences below.

  1. The forests of the world provide a rich habitat for some of the Earth’s most endangered species. They have a positive effect on the quality of the air we breathe.
  2. Biologically, Madagascar is one of the richest areas on Earth. Rapid deforestation is destroying much of its natural habitat.
  3. Experts may hold that deforestation is devastating to the environment. Logging can provide important economic benefits to the local people.

[spoiler title=’Suggested Answer’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

  1. Not only do the forests of the world provide a rich habitat for some of the Earth’s most endangered species, but they also have a positive effect on the quality of the air we breathe.
  2. Although Madagascar is biologically one of the richest areas on Earth, rapid deforestation is destroying much of its natural habitat.
  3. Experts may hold that deforestation is devastating to the environment. However, it could be argued that logging can provide important economic benefits to the local people.

[/spoiler]


Formal Language

IELTS essays are written in formal style, which is often characterised by:

  • Passives and impersonal constructions (e.g It is well known…, It is argued that…, There seems to be…, There exists…). Avoid overusing personal pronouns (e.g. you), although these structures should not be used when you want to make your opinions clear (I believe that… NOT It is felt that… or There is a belief that…).
  • A range of appropriate vocabulary, especially nominalised forms or abstract nouns (e.g. concern about immigration legislation RATHER THAN be concerned that immigration is legislated). Avoid absolute statements and exaggeration (e.g. totally, perfect), emotive words (e.g. terrible, adore, good, bad) and words that express value judgments (e.g. immoral).
  • A range of appropriate grammar, including complex structures with appropriate  subordinators (whereas, because) and sentence linkers (nevertheless, therefore(e.g. It is often argued that censorship is needed to prevent the broadcast and publication of obscene material, which is considered offensive to public morals; Were this to be true, it would…)

Formal language does not include:

  • Short forms or contractions (e.g. They’re, It’s, etc., e.g., i.e.)
  • Colloquial expressions, informal phrasal verbs and idioms, slangs (e.g. What’s up, Take up, As sick as a dog, get, a lot of, lots of, a bit, really)
  • Inappropriate register (e. g. The government officials say they reckon it will be bad…)
  • Overuse and inappropriate use of linking words/expressions (e.g. Besides, Obviously)

TASK 5

Rewrite the following extracts to make them more formal.

  1. A good thing about recycling is how we’d be using less paper and metal so make new things. For starters, the stuff we use to make things like containers and boxes can be used over and over again to get new containers. So, I’d say that if we’d just recycle more, the need to get new materials would go down and the materials we have already would last longer.
  2. Well, many claim that the costs of recycling are larger than the benefits. I’d say that recycling reduces our demand for paper and metal resources, but really, it is sometimes cheaper to process new wood and metal stuff than it is to recycle them the way we do it now. Recycling is sort of costing us more money than it is saving our resources.

[spoiler title=’Sample Answer’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

  1. One point in favour of recycling is that it aids in reducing the demand for limited resources such as paper and aluminum products. In fact, these materials can be reused to make other containers and packaging materials. Naturally, this would lesson the need to cut down more trees or dig deeper into the Earth to extract more metal.
  2. In fact, many would claim that the costs of recycling outweigh the benefits. While it is true that recycling reduces our demand for paper and metal resources, it is sometimes less expensive // On the one hand, recycling reduces our demand for paper and metal resources. On the other hand, it is sometimes… to process new wood and metal materials than it is to recycle them according to current methods. Recycling is to a certain degree costing us more money than it is saving our resources.

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WRITING INTRODUCTIONS & CONCLUSIONS

The introduction to any IELTS essay should draw the reader’s attention to the topic or issue to be discussed. It can begin with an objective statement or more interestingly:

  • start with a thought-provoking idea: If we were to damage the environment, then we would not even have a society.
  • make a reference to an unusual or striking idea/scene/situation: It would be almost impossible to imagine a world without the natural environment.
  • show your opinion directly: I feel that this is an intrusion on our daily life.

More importantly, make sure key ideas in the question are paraphrased, not lifted directly or copied:

[one_half]

Question

The internet allows us to stay connected with each other no matter where we are. On the other hand, it also isolates us and encourages people not to socialise.

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

Introduction

The internet is an effective tool that helps us to keep in touch anywhere in the world. However, some websites can become an obsession and may encourage people to stay at home instead of going out to see their friends.

[/one_half_last]

The rest of the introduction can:

  • give your interpretation of the words or ideas used in the question: I think the word ‘tool’ is important here. In my view it shows how impersonal this contact is.
  • give a brief reaction to the question: These statements summarise my own mixed feelings towards the internet.
  • summarise the question or topic through an indirect question: The question is whether the internet really helps us to develop relationships or not. / The question is whether the internet is a positive or negative influence on our lives.

The conclusion should present your direct or indirect opinion. It is here that you can use opinion words such as I think/believe, In my opinion. The paragraph can then be finished off with a balanced consideration of the topic. To make your conclusion more interesting to the reader, you can give the reader something to think about: Taking all into consideration, it can be concluded that stricter regulations would eliminate questionable business practices. / After all, whether it is the government’s responsibility to regulate businesses or not requires further consideration.

DEVELOPING MAIN BODY PARAGRAPHS

The points used to argue for and against along with their justifications, examples, or reasons can be presented in separate or single body paragraphs. Remember to use linkers that help the reader follow your points. You can formulate your arguments in the following way:

[one_half]

Arguments for / Advantages

  • Consider the arguments for by asking yourself: In what way is this good?
  • List reasons why it is good
  • Choose the two best arguments

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

Arguments for / Disadvantages

  • Consider the arguments against by asking yourself: In what way is this bad?
  • List reasons why it is bad
  • Choose the two best arguments

[/one_half_last]

It is a good idea to think about how the issue affects:

  • me and my family and friends
  • my town or city
  • my country
  • the world, or society in general
For: the internet helps us to stay connected Against: the internet isolates us
  • My cousin travelled for a year but kept in touch with his family every day.
  • Through the internet, we can share memories with people who are far away.
  • The business world benefits from the immediate contact provided by the internet. blogchuyenanh.org
  • A friend of mine uses a social-networking site a great deal but we rarely see her.
  • Virtual friends made on the internet cannot be compared to our actual friends and family.
  • Instant communication (emails/text messages) means that it is difficult to escape from work.

Once you have formulated the points to be discussed, you can then decide on how to provide the justification. You can do this in a variety of ways. For example:

One argument in favour of recycling is that even though the costs of collecting and processing are high, it is still cost-effective.

  • Exemplify: In particular, it costs more to dump a ton of newspapers in a landfill than it does to recycle them.
  • Elaborate/Expand: In other words, the environmental benefits far outweigh the cost.
  • Explain: The reason for this is that by recycling, pollution can be reduced and resources conserved.

It is helpful to follow a PEEL structure when developing body paragraphs.

Present a Point Changing careers can make people happier.
Explain Many people can find jobs but often do not like them.
Expand/Elaborate/
Exemplify/Hypothesize
[expand] → As a result, they will feel unhappy at what they do.

[exemplify] → My father used to be a salesman when he was young but not satisfied with this career because he had always wanted to have a company. For this reason, nine years ago, he quit and became a business man.

[hypothesize] → If employees are not content with their work, they will be unlikely to do it particularly well and consequently may find their careers limited, if not imperiled, defeating the purpose of taking that option in the first place.

[elaborate] → This is particularly likely to be true since knowing what career best suits one’s nature is often not easy, taking some years before even an inkling can be gained.

Link back to the question /
Lead to the next point /
Concluding thought
Nowadays, he enjoys his job, thus clearly showing how career change can lead to positive results.

TASK 6

Think of two arguments for and two against the topic below. Write one sentence to justify each argument. Then write the main body paragraphs, using appropriate linkers. Start each paragraph with a central idea.

Some people think that the production of biofuels should be increased. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

[spoiler title=’Suggested Answer’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

Arguments Justifications
Producing biofuels might require the use of more energy than ever before. (against) For example, it is estimated that at least 30 per cent more energy is needed to produce ethanol from corn than the resulting energy ethanol generates.
A large number of forest areas would have to be cleared. (against) The reason for this is that vast spaces are needed to grow biocrops in order to meet the world demand for oil.
One benefit of switching to biofuels is that they are plant-based. (for) This means that farmers can produce them domestically and reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil.
Biofuels emit less pollution into the atmosphere. (for) Indeed, they do not largely contribute to global warming.

Producing biofuels might have certain disadvantages. Firstly, it could require the use of more energy than ever before. For instance, it is estimated that at least 30 per cent more energy is needed to produce ethanol from corn than the resulting energy ethanol generates. In addition, a large number of forest areas would have to be cleared. The reason for this is that vast spaces are needed to grow biocrops in order to meet the world demand for oil.

However, there are several advantages to using biofuels. One benefit of switching to them is that they are plant-based. This means that farmers can produce them domestically and reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil. Additionally, biofuels emit less pollution into the atmosphere, thereby not largely contributing to global warming.

[/spoiler]


TASK 7

Think of two arguments for and two against the following topic. Write some appropriate justifications. Then write an introduction and a conclusion.

Recently the Kenyan government has made a decision to heavily promote ecotourism in a beautiful wildlife area in the country. What are the benefits and drawbacks of such policy?

[spoiler title=’Suggested Answer’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

Arguments Justifications
The local people would benefit from ecotourism. (for)
  • It creates new jobs for the local community, thus providing them with a reliable source of income.
  • A prime example of this is that locals can provide for their large family by leading guided tours of local wildlife areas.
  • They can also earn money by making and selling souvenirs.
  • Unemployment level in poorer rural areas would be lowered.
Local wildlife rangers would also support ecotourism because the money from it can help to preserve wildlife. (for)
  • It creates protected wilderness and national parks.
  • Government agencies can enforce environmental regulations that protect wildlife and its habitats.
Foreign investors and corporations would benefit from ecotourism, not local communities. / The majority of wealth generated from ecotourism would go to large businesses rather than the local community. (against)
  • In developing countries, most ecotourism enterprises are owned by foreigners.
  • Foreign airlines and travel agencies gain most profits by bringing in the tourists, while the locals barely make a living / are given menial jobs that pay little.
Other critics of ecotourism oppose the large number/influx of sightseers, arguing that the tourists actually contribute to the ecological destruction of the area / would damage the areas the ecotourism aims to protect. (against)
  • High impact tourists activities such as hiking, which appears harmless, could actually cause soil erosion, damage plants, disturb the animals and the ecosystem.
  • Tourist litter would pollute natural habitats.

Introduction

Many African countries are turning to ecotourism in order to improve the livelihood and well-being of their people. However, as the ecotourism industry develops, there are uncertainties about whether ‘eco’ travellers could live up to their eco-friendly claims.

Conclusion

To conclude, in my opinion, ecotourism seems to be an ambiguous concept / I feel quite ambivalent about ecotourism. While there are strong arguments for promoting sustainable projects, such activities should be carefully monitored. After all, ecology and economy frequently appear to having conflicting interests.

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EXAM PRACTICE 1

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that wind farms are eyesores and disturb nature. Discuss this view and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.

[spoiler title=’Sample Essay’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

The sample answer below has been prepared as a very good answer under exam conditions. However, please note that this is just one answer out of many possible approaches.

Introduction 1

It would be difficult to imagine a world with its open spaces covered in giant wind turbines. Yet increasing numbers of power companies today are turning to wind farms to generate clean energy. The construction of these farms, as a result, are threatening areas which are cherished for their natural beauty.

Introduction 2

Most of us could have learnt that the goal of life should be living in harmony with nature. In the attempt to create cleaner energy, we have developed wind farms. However, it is questionable whether nature would agree with the noise and unsightliness of this new technology.

Introduction 3

If we were going on vacation to the countryside and gazing at endless rows of wind turbines, we could realise that the switch to cleaner energy sources such as wind power is occurring at a rapid pace. Nevertheless, there are concerns about the construction of such machines, which are threatening to deface a part of nature that so many people enjoy.

Body Paragraphs

The creation of wind farms offers various advantages. One argument in their favour is that they can generate a renewable source of energy. In other words, they hardly use raw materials, such as coal, oil, or natural gas, to create energy. There would be little need to extract these raw materials when wind power is used, which means that less land would be used in search of them. Another benefit of wind farms is that they are a clean source of energy. Unlike the case with burning fossil fuels, they barely add pollutants to the atmosphere. The energy that they provide, therefore, would not largely contribute to global warming.

However, there are also certain drawbacks. Firstly, wind farms can be a ‘blot on the landscape’ and would transform a scenic mountainside into a mass of propeller blades. They must also be built in wide, open spaces, which would leave fewer places for urban dwellers to escape the concrete landscape of the city. The calming beauty of nature might eventually become a countryside full of white metal towers. Furthermore, wind farms could disturb the natural environment around them. For example, many birds could accidentally fly into the blades when they strike them. Also, since wind farms often span over the vast land, there would be a loss of habitat for most species of animals which populate the area.

Conclusion

To conclude, I believe that wind farms could provide valuable clean energy, but we must be careful not to ruin nature in the process // in my opinion, wind farms are an important source of clean, renewable energy, but power companies must not be allowed to build them wherever they want // while it is necessary for us to switch our energy sources to clean, renewable ones, in my opinion, we must find a way to preserve our natural environment as well. Taking all into consideration, power companies, governments, and local communities should work together to find the most appropriate locations for wind farms.

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EXAM PRACTICE 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

In the fight against global warming, some governments are choosing to tax and fine their citizens for their carbon emissions. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of placing such responsibility on citizens, and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

[spoiler title=’Suggested Ideas’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

Arguments For Justifications
heavily taxing gas means drivers might as well change their harmful driving habits they would buy hybrid cars as they use less gas than regularly fueled cars
fines encourage drivers to respect the environment / set the right example they would check their cars regularly for harmful carbon emissions
fines for those who do not carpool can make a difference reduce the number of cars on the roads, encourage more public transportation use, ease the problem of traffic congestion
Arguments Against  Justifications
fuel price already high, why further burden citizens? public unrest
governments do not provide sufficient infrastructure to justify such taxes/fines not enough public transportation to facilitate city commuters, not all destinations can be reached by public transportation
misguided effort – vehicles alone do not pollute the environment as much as heavy industries industries are left unchecked to continue making profits and polluting, industry should be setting the examples to individuals

[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’Sample Essay’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

The sample answer below has been prepared as a very good answer under exam conditions. However, please note that this is just one answer out of many possible approaches.

Global warming has become a greater concern these days, especially among governments, who maintain that citizens should be fined and taxed for irresponsible behaviour towards the environment. On the contrary, citizens claim that governments are not working efficiently enough to support a more environmentally-friendly infrastructure.

First of all, it could be argued that if people are constantly fined and taxed for ecologically insensible behaviour, they might eventually change their harmful driving habits. For instance, a high tax placed on regularly fueled cars could persuade buyers to look for hybrid eco-friendly models. Furthermore, heavy fines could be applied to those who do not carpool to work. Naturally, this would curb the emissions by reducing the number of cars on the roads. It could even force them to use public transportation more often, when carpooling is not practical for their journey.

However, many people oppose these regulations, claiming that the government has not provided sufficient infrastructure to justify such taxes or fines. A typical example of this is that governments have not increased the amount of public transportation to facilitate city commuters. Moreover, although well-intentioned, the policy can be a misguided effort to reduce pollution levels. In other words, too much emphasis would be placed on individuals instead of heavy industries which pollute the most. In fact, these industries have been left unchecked while they damage the environment in pursuit of profits // and continue making profits at the expense of / to the detriment of the environment.

Taking all into consideration, it can be concluded that some regulations should apply to individuals, although the better course of action would be to achieve a certain balance between individual and governmental and corporate responsibilities.

[/spoiler]


EXAM PRACTICE 3

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Many people have proposed a law be passed that forces all downtown buildings to create ‘green’ rooftops. Do the benefits of building gardens on rooftops outweigh the drawbacks?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

[spoiler title=’Suggested Ideas’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

Arguments For Justifications
improved local climate conditions trees can plants can absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, green spaces in summer acts as natural shade to cool down buildings
more humane and natural environment aesthetically pleasing, space for relaxation and recreation, e.g. gardening
more time spent outdoors in the fresh air green vegetation promotes psychological well-being
Arguments Against  Justifications
high construction costs detailed planning and materials involved, e.g. special insulators to stop water leaks
maintenance costs / upkeep (expensive for household to maintain) initial costs of buying plants considerable, costs of keeping the garden in good condition might be unexpectedly high, might be tempted to overspend and run up debts, prefer to spend money on more urgent needs
private access restricted to certain areas, not all people

[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’Sample Essay’ style=’orange’ collapse_link=’true’]

The sample answer below has been prepared as a very good answer under exam conditions. However, please note that this is just one answer out of many possible approaches.

Most of us would have hardly ever thought that the ancient hanging gardens of Babylon would become a part of city life today. Indeed, with the proposal to create green rooftops on downtown buildings, that could be what we actually see in the near future. The question is whether these constructions are more of a benefit or drawback.

Admittedly, there are concerns about the costs of implementing such a program. As there are detailed planning and materials involved in building a rooftop garden, the construction costs could become rather expensive. For instance, rooftops should be covered with special insulation or waterproof materials to protect the building. While this might be true, many families living in the heart of the city could have been prepared for the costs incurred in keeping the facility in stable condition. They would be also willing to increase their budgets in case their savings are stretched. Therefore, despite the costs of maintenance, many households would be likely to welcome the idea of having a rooftop garden.

More importantly, creating more green space in cities would help to improve local climate conditions. For example, during the summer, this could work as a natural coolant, offering shade to the buildings that might usually ‘bake’ under the sun rays. Another advantage of green rooftops is that the city would become a more humane and natural environment. In other words, not only would these rooftops be aesthetically appealing, but they are also a place to escape to from the concrete surroundings of city life. People would also be able to use the space for relaxation and recreation, or even enjoy the efforts involved in tending a garden.

In conclusion, I believe that although initiating the program of green rooftops can be costly, the advantages would far outweigh the disadvantages in the long term. After all, we occasionally need to follow the example of ideas from the distant past that might benefit us at the present time.

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References
Acknowledgements

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